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09 September 30, 2012 Matthew 7;13 29 Your Decision

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  • 1. YOUR DECISION MATTHEW 7:13-29 SEPTEMBER 30, 2012FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI USA
  • 2. ©2012 LifeWay ChristianResources of the SouthernBaptist Convention.Reproduction prohibitedwithout the expresswritten consent: LifeWayChristian Resources SBC.
  • 3. Focal Passages:Life or Destruction? Matthew 7:13-14Genuine or Counterfeit? Matthew 7:15-23Rock or Sand? Matthew 7:24-29
  • 4. This lesson is about choosing to build life on Jesus & His teachings.
  • 5. *Life stretches before us asa huge road map coveredwith various routes anddestinations.
  • 6. *Many decisions laybefore us in our lifetimes.
  • 7. *As teenagers we mayhave asked, “Should wechoose more education orenter the work force?”*Who will be our closestfriends?*Which guy or gal should
  • 8. we choose as a spouse?*Where should we live?*The most importantdecision was whether totrust Jesus and fashionour lives according to Histeachings.
  • 9. Jesus used three illustrations on how to live to conclude His Sermon on the Mount:1) Two roads2) Two trees3) Two foundations
  • 10. 1) Two gates and roads – Matthew 7:13-14symbolize the decision totrust and obey Jesus or torely on self and chartone’s own course.
  • 11. 2) Two kinds of trees - Matthew 7:15-23show the results of thatinitial decision in this lifeand the judgment.
  • 12. 3) The two foundations - Matthew 7:24-29reveals how that initialdecision works out whenhard times impact us aswell as at the Judgment.
  • 13. The conclusion of theSermon on the Mountstands as both:1) an encouragement and2) as a warning.
  • 14. Romans 15:44 “For everything that waswritten in the past waswritten to teach us, so thatthrough endurance andthe encouragement of theScriptures we might have
  • 15. hope.” Romans 15:4 NIV
  • 16. Life or Destruction?Matthew 7:13-14 HCSB13“Enter through thenarrow gate. For the gateis wide and the road isbroad that leads todestruction, and there are
  • 17. many who go through it.14 How narrow is thegate and difficult theroad that leads to life,and few find it.”
  • 18. First, let’s consider thetwo gates:*One of them is narrowand easily overlooked;therefore, few find it(v14).*The descriptive termnarrow is not inviting.
  • 19. *We have heard all ourlives that being narrow-minded is not good.
  • 20. None of us want to behemmed in; we like to goour way singing,“Don’t Fence Me In”.
  • 21. Nevertheless, Jesus hadsound reasons forinsisting we enter throughthe narrow gate (v. 13).
  • 22. The other gate is wide,easy to find, andapparently moreattractive (v. 13).
  • 23. *Large crowds enter thatgate, but it isn’t jammed;people readily can seethey have plenty of roomto enter.*Clearly, that gate is thepopular choice, for many
  • 24. go through it (v. 13).*Some of them assume thatbecause many people enterthere, it must be the bestchoice. Unfortunately, themajority is not alwaysright.
  • 25. Consider the two roads:*The narrow gate leads toa difficult road (v. 14).*The word translateddifficult literally meanscompressed.
  • 26. *The gate and the roadbeyond it both hem us in.*It wends its constrictedway through deep valleysand over high mountains.
  • 27. *Rough and rocky patchesoccasionally mark itssurface.*The body of the Sermonon the Mount describesthat road; walking it istough.
  • 28. *The roomy gate leads toa broad road (v. 13).*Freshly paved and wellmaintained, it offersplenty of rest stops andpicnic areas with scenicoverlooks.
  • 29. *Entertaining andinteresting attractions linethis road, and travelersflock to them.*They claim any foolcould see the wide gate asthe wise choice, for it led
  • 30. to a road that affordsmany delights.*Consider the twodestinations:The narrow road … leadsto life (v. 14).What an amazing claim!
  • 31. Deuteronomy 30:19-2019 “I call heaven andearth as witnessesagainst you today that Ihave set before you lifeand death, blessing andcurse.
  • 32. Choose life so that youand your descendantsmay live, 20 love the Lord yourGod, obey Him, andremain faithful to Him.For He is your life, and
  • 33. He will prolong your lifein the land the Lord  swore to give to yourfathers Abraham, Isaac,and Jacob.” Deuteronomy 30:19-20
  • 34. Joshua 24:1515 “But if it doesn’t pleaseyou to worship Yahweh,choose for yourselvestoday the one you willworship: the gods yourfathers worshiped
  • 35. beyond the EuphratesRiver or the gods of theAmorites in whose landyou are living. As for meand my family, we willworship Yahweh.” Joshua 24:15
  • 36. *What appears as afoolish choice hasspectacular benefits.*C. S. Lewis, the effectiveChristian teacher andwriter who helped manytake the narrow gate and
  • 37. walk the difficult road,described his conversionto Christianity in a bookentitled Surprised by Joy.*In a sense, he thought hislife had ended as hemoved toward God.
  • 38. *He expected life to takeon hues of gray and black.*The book title reflects thereality he experienced.*He found life; eternal lifein the hereafter, yes, butalso abundant life in the
  • 39. here-and-now.John 10:10 NIV10 “The thief comes onlyto steal and kill anddestroy; I have come thatthey may have life, andhave it to the full.”
  • 40. Deciding to trust Christand walk with Him looksbleak to some unbelievers,sort of like viewing acathedral’s stained glasswindows from theoutside.
  • 41. On the inside, the sunshining through the glassbrings alive the incrediblylovely colors that take ourbreath away.
  • 42. Trusting Jesus brings usinto a personalrelationship with theFather Who created us,loves us, and wants us tohave the best life possible.
  • 43. *That does not mean theChristian life is easy, butit is the most fulfilling andsatisfying way to live.*So the narrow, difficultroad leads to a wonderfullife!
  • 44. *The broad road leads todestruction (v. 13).*What seems so promisingat its beginning ends in theworst disaster imaginable,the lake of fire (Prov. 14:12;Rev. 20:15).
  • 45. Proverbs 14:1212 There is a way thatseems right to a man,but its end is the way todeath.
  • 46. Revelation 20:1515 And anyone not foundwritten in the book oflife was thrown into thelake of fire.
  • 47. *Whether or not you viewthis fire as literal orfigurative, the worstaspect of hell is eternalseparation from God.
  • 48. No hope abides there,only the deepest andunrelenting regret.
  • 49. *Even in this life, thepopular path doesn’t liveup to its billing.*Sin destroys like acorrosive poison that killsthe brightest and bestaspects of life.
  • 50. *What early on brings funand pleasure eventuallybrings sadness andmisery.
  • 51. *Sin kills friendships,destroys marriages, ruinsreputations, andbankrupts businesses.
  • 52. Genuine or Counterfeit?Matthew 7:15-23 15 “Beware of falseprophets who come toyou in sheep’s clothingbut inwardly areravaging wolves.
  • 53. 16 You’ll recognize themby their fruit. Are grapesgathered fromthornbushes or figs fromthistles?17 In the same way, everygood tree produces good
  • 54. fruit, but a bad treeproduces bad fruit.18 A good tree can’tproduce bad fruit;neither can a bad treeproduce good fruit.
  • 55. 19 Every tree that doesn’tproduce good fruit is cutdown and thrown intothe fire.20 So you’ll recognizethem by their fruit.
  • 56. 21 “Not everyone whosays to Me, ‘Lord, Lord!’will enter the kingdom ofHeaven, but only the onewho does the will of MyFather in Heaven.
  • 57. 22 On that day many willsay to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,didn’t we prophesy inYour name, drive outdemons in Your name,and do many miracles inYour name?’
  • 58. 23 Then I will announceto them, ‘I never knewyou! Depart from Me,you lawbreakers!’” Matthew 7:15-23
  • 59. True story ofDonnie the Deceiver hereat FBCJ.
  • 60. *Religious fakery is notnew.*Both the Old and NewTestaments speak of falseprophets, and Jesuswarned us to beware ofthem (v. 15).
  • 61. How can we tell whethera preacher, teacher, orlayperson is genuine orcounterfeit since theybleat like sheep ratherthan snarl like wolves?
  • 62. *To do that isn’t alwayseasy, especially withreligious teachings on TVand the Internet.*Jesus said, however, wecan recognize them bytheir fruit (v. 16).
  • 63. *Jesus elaborated on Hisanalogy of telltale fruit.*Thornbushes and thistlesdo not produce edible andnutritious fruit, so in thatsense they are bad (v. 17).
  • 64. *Grape vines and fig treesproduce edible andnutritious fruit and thusare good (v. 17).*To expect a bad tree toproduce good fruit is folly;it can’t happen(v.18).
  • 65. Orchard owners knowwhich trees produce goodfruit and which do not,and they cut down andburn worthless trees(v. 19).
  • 66. *What “fruit” are we toexamine?*Because the bad treesrepresent false prophets,the fruit certainlyincludes their falseteachings.
  • 67. *We can listen to determinewhether the teachings majoron “saved by grace” butminimize obedience toChrist. (“Believers’ sins areforgiven, so sinning doesn’tmatter anymore;
  • 68. do what you please.”)*Do they emphasize God’slove and ignore God’sholiness and righteousjudgment? (“God is love,so He won’t allow anyoneto go to hell.”)
  • 69. *Do the teachers talk moreabout themselves, theirachievements, theireducation, their Christianwork, and so forth, thanthey talk about the Lord?
  • 70. *Do they rightly interpretScripture or primarilypresent their ownopinions?*Do they seriously lift upJesus’ teachings in theSermon on the Mount as
  • 71. God’s will for His peopleor virtually dismiss themas being unrealistic saying“Wouldn’t it be nice ifeveryone lived thatway?”.
  • 72. *Do they imply ourobedience, service, andgiving help save us?*We also can observe theinfluence of the teachingson the hearers.
  • 73. *Are the people becominggodlier or more worldly?*Are they seeking to doGod’s will or going theirown way?*Are they putting others’interests above their own
  • 74. or demanding their ownway?*Are the people acceptingJesus’ standards in Hissermon or explainingthem away?
  • 75. *Aside from thesecounterfeit Christians’teachings, we can examinetheir conduct.*What evidence mightpoint to their having heartsof ravaging wolves?
  • 76. *The term translatedravaging indicates theyare covetous and prey onothers.*They might hunger formoney, position,recognition, or power.
  • 77. *So, watch how they act.*Are their lifestylesselflessly Christian?*Are they honest?*Do they answerquestions truthfully orbecome evasive?
  • 78. *Are they more concernedwith their status or withserving the Lord?*How do they make anduse money?
  • 79. *Do they pay their bills?*With whom do they hangout?*What kinds of cars orhomes do they own?*Would Jesus wear a Rolexon His television show?
  • 80. *When out of thespotlight, are they kindand considerate of othersor irritable and impatient?*What do people whohave known them for along time have to say
  • 81. about their moral andethical practices?*Obviously, we cannotknow or watch Christianleaders who postmaterials on the Internet,preach on television,
  • 82. or produce writtenmaterials.*Not all of them by anymeans are false prophets,but some are.*Be cautious aboutaccepting what they say
  • 83. or supporting themfinancially.*The Internet searchengines may be helpful infinding what people whohave investigated themhave to say.
  • 84. Jesus asserted bluntly,“Not everyone who saysto Me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ willenter the kingdom ofHeaven” (v. 21).
  • 85. John 15:5 NIV5 “I am the vine; you arethe branches. If a manremains in me and I inhim, he will bear muchfruit; apart from me youcan do nothing.”
  • 86. *Are you bearing muchfruit?*Sadly, many people whoassume they are saved arelost (v. 22).
  • 87. *This includes all falseprophets and all whoseChristianity is superficial.*“I never knew you!”supplies the reason (v. 23).*The only way to knowJesus personally is to yield
  • 88. our hearts to Him byfaith, that is, to make HimLord of our lives.*Anything less is justreligious ritual andactivity.
  • 89. Some supposed Christianswill boast of theirChristian service, sayingthey have prophesied,driven out demons, anddone many miracles inHis name (v. 22).
  • 90. Many impressive so-called Christian workshave been done throughhuman ingenuity, cleverdeception, and evensatanic influences as seenin 2 Cor. 11:14-15.
  • 91. 2 Corinthians 11:14-1514 “And no wonder! ForSatan disguises himself asan angel of light. 15 So it is no great thing ifhis servants also disguisethemselves as servants of
  • 92. righteousness. Theirdestiny will be accordingto their works.” 2 Corinthians 11:14-15
  • 93. Jesus, knowing theirhearts, will respond tothis boasting,“Depart from Me, youlawbreakers!” (v. 23).
  • 94. *They gave time andeffort to sensationalChristian causes, figuringthat would get them intoHeaven.
  • 95. *Unfortunately, theyreserved the right todecide for themselveswhat they would do andwhich of Christ’scommands they wouldobey or ignore.
  • 96. *In other words, they heldfast to lordship over theirlives, never yielding theirhearts to the Lord byfaith.
  • 97. A number of churchgoershang onto the notion theycan earn a place in thekingdom, ignoringnumerous Scriptures suchas Ephesians 2:8-10:
  • 98. “You are saved by gracethrough faith, and this isnot from yourselves; it isGod’s gift—not fromworks, so that no one canboast. For we are Hiscreation, created in Christ
  • 99. Jesus for good works,which God preparedahead of time so that weshould walk in them.” Ephesians 2:8-10*Nail this down: we aresaved by faith in Christ.
  • 100. *Salvation is the root;good works are the fruit.
  • 101. 2 Peter 1:3-113 “His divine power hasgiven us everythingrequired for life andgodliness through theknowledge of Him whocalled us by His own
  • 102. glory and goodness. 4 By these He has givenus very great andprecious promises, sothat through them youmay share in the divinenature, escaping the
  • 103. corruption that is in theworld because of evildesires. 5 For this very reason,make every effort tosupplement your faithwith goodness, goodness
  • 104. with knowledge, 6 knowledge with self-control, self-control withendurance, endurancewith godliness, 7 godliness withbrotherly affection, and
  • 105. brotherly affection withlove. 8 For if these qualities areyours and are increasing,they will keep you frombeing useless orunfruitful in the
  • 106. knowledge of our LordJesus Christ. 9 The person who lacksthese things is blind andshortsighted and hasforgotten the cleansingfrom his past sins. 
  • 107. 10 Therefore, brothers,make every effort toconfirm your calling andelection, because if youdo these things you willnever stumble.
  • 108. 11 For in this way, entryinto the eternalkingdom of our Lord andSavior Jesus Christ willbe richly supplied toyou.” 2 Peter 1:3-11
  • 109. *Salvation is the root;good works are the fruit.
  • 110. No quantity of goodworks can offset thepenalty for even one ofour sins.
  • 111. *These are sobering andshocking verses.*We who are genuinebelievers can be assuredof our salvation and theLord’s welcome intoHeaven.
  • 112. Still, Jesus’ words warn usto take stock of how wellwe are responding to HisWord and lordship.
  • 113. He is not looking to us forspectacular acts of servicebut for consistent acts ofobedience.
  • 114. *May we bring glory toHim and find peacefulassurance as we walkwith Him.6 “Whoever claims to livein Him must walk asJesus did.” 1 John 2:6
  • 115. Colossians 2:66 “So then, just as youreceived Christ Jesus asLord (by grace throughfaith), continue to live inHim.”
  • 116. We all know peoplewhose “fruit” testifies thattheir faith in Jesus isgenuine.
  • 117. Unfortunately, weprobably all also knowthose in whom we“recognize” somecounterfeit fruit.
  • 118. If others were examiningyour life, what counterfeitfruit might they identifythat needs to be “cutdown and thrown into thefire”?
  • 119. Rock or Sand?Matthew 7:24-2924“Therefore, everyonewho hears these words ofMine and acts on themwill be like a sensibleman who built his house
  • 120. on the rock.25 The rain fell, the riversrose, and the winds blewand pounded that house.Yet it didn’t collapse,because its foundationwas on the rock.
  • 121. 26 But everyone whohears these words ofMine and doesn’t act onthem will be like afoolish man who builthis house on the sand.
  • 122. 27 The rain fell, the riversrose, the winds blew andpounded that house, andit collapsed. And itscollapse was great!”
  • 123. 28 When Jesus hadfinished this sermon, thecrowds were astonishedat His teaching,
  • 124. 29 because He wasteaching them like oneWho had authority, andnot like their scribes.” Matthew 7:24-29
  • 125. Word Study: AuthorityAuthority translates aword with several shadesof meaning—authority tochoose, to do somethingwith great ability, to rule,and absolute authority.
  • 126. *The precise meaning isdetermined by thecontext.*The context of its use inMatthew 7:29 is Jesus’teaching in the Sermon onthe Mount.
  • 127. *The audience clearlyperceived that He taught“like one Who hadauthority, and not liketheir scribes” (v. 29).*The scribes often soughtto support their teaching
  • 128. by quoting famousrabbinical scholars ofyesteryear.*Jesus spoke as the OneWho had absoluteauthority in Himself todeclare God’s truth.
  • 129. While Jesus certainly hasabsolute authority, theterm’s use in verse 29likely means the peoplerecognized His authorityin the sense of His beingan exceptionally
  • 130. competent teacher ofspiritual truth because Hegot His words straightfrom the Father, not fromsome dead sage.
  • 131. Maybe you grew upsinging:The Wise Man Built HisHouse Upon the Rock, thechildren’s song based onJesus’ words in theseverses.
  • 132. *This illustration providesperhaps the most familiarpart of Jesus’ sermon.*At times I can recall asermon illustration butnot the point illustrated.
  • 133. *Be sure to catch Jesus’point here.*Although Jesus is thechurch’s foundation, inthis account of two housesthe foundation representsdoing (or not doing)what
  • 134. Jesus commanded us todo.*Jesus contrasted the fateof those who heard Hiswords and obeyed themwith others who heardand did nothing.
  • 135. He described obedienthearers as sensible, andthe disobedient hearers asfoolish (vv. 24,26). Why?*Because eventually therain fell, the rivers rose,the winds blew and
  • 136. pounded that house.*Some interpreters believethe storms represent thedamaging and evendevastating events thatbefall all of us in this sin-cursed world.
  • 137. *Those who hear andobey Jesus have afoundation that sustainsthem in hard times.*They don’t collapse intobitterness or hopelessnessbut endure and persevere.
  • 138. *Those who hear but doas they please are on theirown and will suffer for itgreatly.
  • 139. While that interpretationof storms certainly hasmerit and expresses truth,in this context Jesus mayhave used the stormimage to illustrate thefinal judgment.
  • 140. The conclusion of thesermon contains strongwarnings (vv. 13-22).
  • 141. *The broad way leads todestruction (v. 13);worthless trees are cutdown and thrown into thefire (v. 19).*“On that day” ofjudgment, lawbreakers
  • 142. will be rejected (vv. 22-23). *In line with that, thegreat collapse of the housebuilt … on the sand easilycould stand for fallingunder God’s righteousjudgment (v. 27).
  • 143. 1 Corinthians 3:8-158 “Now the one plantingand the one watering areone in purpose, and eachwill receive his ownreward according to hisown labor.
  • 144. 9 For we are God’scoworkers. You are God’sfield, God’s building. 10 According to God’sgrace that was given tome, I have laid afoundation as a skilled
  • 145. master builder, andanother builds on it.But each one must becareful how he builds onit. 11 For no one can lay anyother foundation than
  • 146. what has been laid down.That foundation is JesusChrist. 12 If anyone builds onthat foundation withgold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay, or straw,
  • 147. 13 each one’s work willbecome obvious, for theday will disclose it,because it will berevealed by fire; the firewill test the quality ofeach one’s work.
  • 148. 14 If anyone’s work thathe has built survives, hewill receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work isburned up, it will be lost,but he will be saved; yetit will be like an escape
  • 149. through fire.” 1 Corinthians 3:8-15
  • 150. *In any case, obeying isthe only wise choice.*We’ve heard, read,studied, and even taughtJesus’ words.*That is vital but by itselfonly puts us in the
  • 151. position of a rookie in theNational Football League.*He has the play-book,has studied it, and knowshis assignment for everyplay. He is well coachedand practices hard.
  • 152. *Then he gets in a game,forgets what he’s seen andheard, and relies insteadon what worked for himon the college level.*Immediately, he isbenched.
  • 153. The same would be trueof replacement refereesin the NFL!
  • 154. *We know much of whatwe should do, but do wekeep that in mind as wetravel through each week?*Do we practice whatwe’ve learned?
  • 155. *Do we allow Jesus’words to bear fruit thatglorifies Him?*We should renew ourdetermination to be doersof the Word and nothearers only (James 1:22).
  • 156. James 1:2222 “Do not merely listento the word, and sodeceive yourselves. Dowhat it says.”
  • 157. *We should choose totrust Christ and walk inHis ways as He hastaught us.*We need to persevere aswe walk the difficult roadwith Christ.
  • 158. *May we not only be fruitinspectors but also makesure we produce fruitpleasing to the Lord.Colossians 1:1010 “walk in a mannerworthy of the Lord,
  • 159. pleasing Him in allrespects, bearing fruit inevery good workand increasing in theknowledge of God” Colossians 1:10 NASB
  • 160. *We should adopt as ourlife goal to do the Father’swill.*Let’s rejoice that for life’sstorms and the judgmentto come, we have built onthe only foundation that
  • 161. ensures our eternalsecurity—obedience to theLord Jesus Christ.*In other words, let’sbuild our lives on Christand His teachings.
  • 162. *Prior to turning to Christ,each of us built our“house on the sand.”*Did yours “collapse” atsome point?*If so, remember thatexperience, how you felt,
  • 163. and what helped yousurvive.
  • 164. *Allow that experience tomake you more diligent inseeking out others whosehouses have collapsed orare subject to collapsebecause they, too, built onthe sand.
  • 165. Help lead them to the Rock!
  • 166. Biblical Truths of ThisLesson in Focus:• Let us rightly judgeourselves before helpingfellow believers in theirChristian walk.
  • 167. • Let us be honest aboutour own spiritualstruggles rather thanpretending we “have it alltogether.”
  • 168. • Let us relate to otherswith discernment whenwitnessing to them.• Let us pray persistentlyand confidently for God’sgrace to obey and serveHim.
  • 169. • Let us build our lives onJesus and His teachings.
  • 170. As you reflect on thislesson, consider ways youcan better build your lifeon Jesus and Histeachings.
  • 171. Next week:From Failure to Salvation John 4: 7-39